Apple Apps Give Information to Advertisers: Claims another lawsuit

Yet another lawsuit seeking class action or group status against Apple has been filed.
The said lawsuit sues Apple over claims that applications for the company’s iPhone and iPad transmit users’ personal information to advertising networks without customers’ consent.

What the lawsuit is all about:

The complaint, which seeks class action, or group, status, was filed on Dec. 23 in federal court in San Jose, California, claims that Cupertino, California-based Apple’s iPhones and iPads are encoded with identifying devices/features that allow advertising networks to track what applications users download, how frequently they’re used and for how long. In addition, the suit claims that some apps are also selling additional information to ad networks, including users’ location, age, gender, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation and political views. While elaborating, the suit says that Apple iPhones and iPads are set with a Unique Device Identifier Devices, or UDID, which can’t be blocked by users.

On its part, Apple claims it reviews all applications on its App Store and doesn’t allow them to transmit user data without customer permission, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit, claiming the transmission of personal information is a violation of federal computer fraud and privacy laws, seeks class-action status for Apple customers who downloaded an application on their iPhone or iPad between Dec. 1, 2008, and last week.

Who are the parties: The suit, filed on behalf of Jonathan Lalo of Los Angeles County, identifies applications such as Pandora, Paper Toss, the Weather Channel and, and names them as defendants along with Apple.

Our view:

If one looks at the point of disagreement between Apple and iPad magazine and newspaper publishers then lawsuit looks more than just a gimmick. iPad publishers are disappointed with Apple as the latter doesn’t allow publishers to run a subscription model of their magazines and newspapers. Apple’s reluctance to allow subscriptions is because it doesn’t want to hand over the subscriber details to the publishers.

So it appears least likely that, Apple who has an upper hand over the app makers will readily hand them over valuable user data. Apple selling user data to app makers is also unlikely; as Apple is not going to part with that data for pennies. It has other more safe and lucrative avenues like the iAD to make use of it. --------

No comments